There’s an inspiring quote that states, “All countries have borders. Love knows none.” You could be enjoying the summer months in Paris, attending a conference in Canada, or helping your company open a new office in Cambodia when you meet the right person and fall in love. Eventually, you propose (or vice-versa).
However, as the quote suggests, countries have borders even if love doesn’t. Once you become engaged, your next step is to petition for your foreign-born fiance(é) to join you in the United States.
The Fiance Petition Explained
The K1 visa, also known as the “fiance(é)” visa, allows a foreign-born fiance(é) of a U.S. citizen to enter the U.S. for the sole purpose of getting married. To petition for a K1 visa for your future spouse, you must meet the following criteria:
Be a U.S. citizen.
Be legally free to marry. If you were married before, you must furnish proof that the marriage legally ended through divorce, annulment, or death.
Intend to marry your fiance(é) within 90 days.
Have physically met your fiance(é) at least once within the next two years.
Meet the income requirements for your state, or have sufficient assets to make up for any shortfall. If a friend or family member is willing to co-sponsor, their income can be counted.
What is the Petitioning Process?
You file the K1 visa petition at one of the five USCIS Centers that process these applications. Once approved, it is forwarded to the National Visa Center, which will carry out a background check on you and your fiance(é). If all goes well, the approved petition will be sent to the U.S. embassy closest to where your fiance(é) lives. They will have to undergo a medical examination at a clinic specified by the embassy and report for a visa interview.
If they pass both, the K1 visa will typically be issued within two weeks. Your fiance(é) then has six months to enter the U.S. Upon arrival, they must marry you within 90 days or leave the country. After the wedding, they can apply to adjust their status to lawful permanent resident and receive a green card.
What Problems Can Arise?
As with any immigration application, problems can arise during the fiance(é) petitioning process. They include but are not limited to:
The petition contains incorrect documents
There are documents missing from the petition
The consular office suspects that the relationship is not bona fide
The U.S. citizen sponsor cannot meet the minimum income requirement
A Florida immigration law firm can help you address these problems if they arise and even prevent them from happening in the first place by:
At Jarbath Pena Law Group, our Florida immigration attorneys have guided many clients through the fiance(é) petitioning process and will maximize your chances of successfully obtaining a K1 fiancée visa. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact us.